Saturday, October 27, 2012

November 4, 2012 - All Saints Day

Scriptures for November 4th: Isaiah 25:6-9; Psalm 24; Revelations 21:1-6a; John 11:32-44; Theme: All Saint’s Day; Song: For all the Saints – UMH 711 Revelation: It seems that only on special occasions that we seem to look at the verses of Revelation. The book contains seven visions of the end times. This is the last of those visions. But it is not a vision about heaven, it is a vision of earth. As a matter of fact heaven descends and becomes home on earth. We can celebrate the fact that God is with us. We can celebrate the fact that all of those bad things about life have passed away, and we can celebrate a new day. Life has been fulfilled. Being a saint is not about those who have passed on, we are all saint. Our life in eternity begins today – in how we choose to live our life and the role we let Christ and his salvation play in our life. John: This is the one New Testament story that addresses death head on. A close friend of Jesus dies. Mary and Martha understand that Jesus has the ability to heal – they tell him that if he has been there, then this would not have happen. They have no idea of the power of resurrection. They don’t know that Jesus has power over life and death. When we think of those in our lives who have died, we all say to Christ, had you been there this would not have happen. They would still be here. Forgetting that God gives us free will. God allows life to take its course. Death is a part of life. Resurrection is a part of our faith in things unseen. Medicine has learned to prolong death, but it still happens. Eventually Lazarus passed on again. But his family and their faith had changed forever, they now knew that there is something beyond nature. There is God and eternal life. Questions: What are the events that you will stop crying about when the new heaven comes to earth? What does it mean to live in eternity now? Would you prefer to go up to God or have God come down here to you? What does it mean to be a Saint? What is the difference between healing and resurrection? Who are we looking for God to resurrect in our lives? What would happen if there was new life in your world today?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

October 21, 2012

Scriptures for October 21st: Job 38:1-7, 34-41; Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35c; Hebrews 5:1-10; Mark 10:35-45; Theme: Laity Sunday Song: Are You Able? UMH 530 Job: This is the moment that we have all been waiting for in the book of Job. We have all been wondering, when is God going to speak and address some of these issues. We have heard from Job as he laments his condition, we have heard from his wife as she feel sorry for him, we have heard from the friends who try to give him some comfort. Finally scripture says that the eternal one speaks out of a whirlwind. But God does not give Job any answers. He instead asks Job questions, where were you when I created the world? What do your friends really know about the truth of wisdom. If they knew anything they would shut their mouths. But that is always the challenge for us in this life, do we sit in silence and accept what it happening, or do we stand up and protest. The bible says that God answers those who speak. We just have to be sure that when we speak to God that we are in total awe of what God has done for us and for the world. Mark: As we approach laity Sunday, this text has an important message about what it means to be a leader in the church. Being a leader is not about how much honor we receive, it is about our willingness to serve. And we have to be willing to serve out of love for God, not our expectation to get a reward. And we all know what this verse id saying, but what does leadership mean in our lives, and in our churches. Sadly, we sometimes would rather be the boss in control, than to even have to right information. We will do anything, even if we know it is wrong in order to be the leader. Perhaps that is why our country seems to have such a problem with leadership and having faith in our leaders. We have to follow the example of Christ and be willing to serve others. Let them honor us, not us demanding honor ourselves. To be a Christian leader is to drink from the cup that Jesus drunk from and to share in his suffering, so that we may ultimately experience his gain. Questions: How does nature affect you when you are in it? Do you experience the presence of God? When you have a question or a problem how do you seek out the presence of God? Does it help you, or do you leave still needing to hear a word from God? How does our church view leadership? Do you have a biblical model of leadership, or a worldly model? What does it mean to drink from the cup of the lord?

Friday, October 5, 2012

October 14, 2012

Scriptures for October 14th: Job 23:1-9, 16-17; Psalm 22: 1-15; Hebrews 4::12-16; Mark 10:17-31 Theme: cry to God in times of trouble Song: I Want Jesus to Walk with Me – UMH 521 Hebrews: We live in a world where there are many choices for our faith journey. It used to be that everyone that we met, believed just life us. Even in the same church there are differences. John Wesley says that it is okay to have diversity of belief in things that are not essential to our salvation. But in the essentials – we have to be united. The author of Hebrews (who is not Paul), is trying to tell us that the essential of life is Jesus. Jesus is superior to any other revelation of God. Jesus is also the word of God. He is the revelation of God for our time. That revelation is not always nice to us, nor does it always tell us what we want to hear. It can cut you like a knife. It is designed to perfect us for the journey to heaven. It is designed to address the sin in our lives. Jesus also knew that in order to truly follow His word, that we have to have an example. Hebrews says that Jesus is the high priest, the one responsible for taking away our sin – through example and through action. Jesus is the complete package of all that we need. Mark: We have heard this story before. It is the story of the rich young ruler. It is the story of the young man who had been raised in a good home, who had did everything right, who has some success in his life. Everything seemed to be going right. But he has the foresight to realize that there was one thing missing. He may have had it all together in this life, but he also understood that this life is not all that there is. He needed to start to work to receive eternal life. But Jesus undermines all that he has worked for in this life, he tells him to sell it all and give it to the poor. That takes a spiritual insight that not everyone has. It goes against all that we have been taught in the world. And all of us are just like that rich ruler, we don’t want to give up what we have in life. Jesus encourages us to take a chance and to trust God. Trust God to transform your heart. Trust God to open the door so that you can see things that the rest of the world cannot see. Just as Job received his riches for trusting in God, God makes the same promise to all of us. What we don’t receive in this life, we will receive in the next. We just have to have faith that there is a next world. Questions: How often do you read the word of God? How often are you challenged by what you read? How often do you grow since you read the bible last? What is it about your life that it is hard for you to give up for God?